Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Biggest Awards in Children's Literature Announced!

Well, well, well, it's time for the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements, which are kind of like the "Oscars" of children's literature.  Among the awards:
The Caldecott,  for best American children's book illustration;
The Newbery, for best American children's book writing;
The Sibert, for best children's nonfiction/informational books (I always love these); 
The Pura Belpré Award, for best portrayal of Latino experience in children's literature by a Latino/Latina author and illustrator;
The Coretta Scott King Award, for best portrayal of African-American experience in children's literature by an African American author and illustrator.
There are many other lovely prizes awarded, such as The Geisel in honor of Dr. Seuss given to best beginning reader books and the cool Batchelder Award for best translated children's book, which feature works originally written in other countries and languages.  You can check out all of the American Library Association's Association for Library Service to Children (ALA ALSC for short, or not-very-short) award-winners here.  Please click the links to see the titles, authors and book covers!  Congrats to all the winners and notables!

Naturally, we already have many of the award-winners either here or on order in our dear school library as (ahem) I apparently have the fortune-telling prowess of Miss Cleo (not to mention that a lot of the winners seem to be perennial favorites, just like in the Oscars), and we welcome and appreciate donations.  At out school, our students learn lots and lots about children's book awards of all sorts in fifth grade specifically, and experience library read-alouds of several award-winners across the grade levels throughout their elementary career.  Though I respect the great history and prestige of the ALSC awards, over the years have come to really appreciate our state awards in which the intended audience of children also serve as the judges (which is why we have gotten on board with The Rebecca Caudill Award). You can also check out my own personal, biased and fabulous favorite books from the past year on Pinterest.

Do you know what makes a book a real winner?  The fact that your child LOVES it!  Happy reading...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

If you see any of our Stone family with Chinese heritage this Friday, remember to wish them gong xi fa cai (pronounced "gung hey fot choy"), or Happy Chinese New Year!  The Lunar New Year is a cause for celebration for lots of Asian cultures, and you don't have to be Asian to join the fun any more than you need to be Irish to eat a green bagel on St. Patrick's Day!  Many in our community will be visiting the conveniently-located Argyle Street Parade in the Uptown neighborhood informally referred to as "Little Vietnam."  While you are there, enjoy some long noodles for long life (CafĂ© Hoang is my go-to on that street, but there are all sorts of delicacies to be found up and down the street, and plenty of warm soups if the icy weather keeps up!).  Keep trying those chopsticks if they are new to you...practice makes perfect!

If you venture to the South Side, may I recommend The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago?  I think this museum is a real treasure in the city, and not enough people across all cultures know about it or visit it, even though it has something interesting for everyone.  It's a manageable size, relatively affordable, and have beautiful and regularly changing exhibits.  "Traditional Chinese Festivals" is on display even after the New Year, hope you can visit and then explore the neighborhood! 

Meanwhile, here at home in the library we will be enjoying Chinese folktales, looking at maps to differentiate between Asian countries, setting off safe noise-making "fireworks" and our children were already so excited by the video we watched that showed how the mighty, dragon-like puppet that performs the traditional "lion dance" works from beneath, with eyes that blink and a mouth that opens and closes.  We decided our big dragon hanging in the library has a body like an Asian dragon, but a head that has a more European influence.  Even dragons are diverse at our school.  Another Stone win!!!

Happy Year of the Horse, health and prosperity to all, and a special warm wish and virtual "red envelope" to our Asian families at Stone!  For more Chinese New Year fun, please click here, and scroll down for a list of great books and links to add to appreciation of Asian heritage. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King

The second grade celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday in library with great true stories such as March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Harris (which also gave us a chance to discuss point of view), and Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier's wonderful multi-award winning book, Martin's Big Words. We saw real footage of the march on Washington. Then we created our own Martin Luther King portraits for a bulletin board and dreamed our own dreams.

You and me both, kids. You and me both.